Using Textured Soy Proteins (Response) to Improve Quality in Ground Meats

Today, meat processors and food formulators are often confronted with choices of saving money by replacing using less expensive ground beef,pork or poultry and thereby sacrificing quality,flavor or texture. Our experience with assisting formulators is that you can have both cost savings and better quality by picking the proper ingredient!

Historically, ground meat users for fresh or cooked patties or other formed product like meatballs and meatloaf would use a product called TVP or Textured Soy Flour. This product is provided as a flake for ease of use and would have the same protein content as meat when hydrated with 2 part water to one part TVP. However as TVP is made from soy flour its protein content cannot hold the water well, making the beef patty suffer with softer texture as well as a more noticeable beany flavor.

Fortunately for the meat processor and formulator, a better generation of textured soy was developed called Response®. Response is a textured soy concentrate, with more protein(67%) versus TVP at 50% as well as having a much improved protein-based texture. This improved texture once hydrated at the recommend level of 2.6 parts water to one part Response provides the protein quality, texture and clean flavor expected in extending ground meat and other ground fillings at common levels of 15 to 20%. We have had many success stories that we can share of meat and food processors extending their patties and fillings with Response allowing them to provide products with lower fat,less shrinkage upon cooking and holding before serving, drier more manageable fillings as well as the resulting cost savings by replacing more costly beef,pork or poultry.

For more information on how to use Response in your processed meat application, contact us and we will provide you with technical assistance and samples.

Glutamic Acid/Glutamate in Food Products

Glutamic acid and glutamate are the chemical names for two very similar substances. You consume glutamate when you eat proteins, or eat foods that have monosodium glutamate (MSG) added to them. Glutamic acid is the formal name for one of the 20 amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Each amino acid has a central carbon atom, to which four different groups are bonded.

The suffix “ate” in chemistry indicates an acid has lost a hydrogen atom. When glutamic acid an acid, losses a hydrogen atom from its side chain, it becomes glutamate. In the human body, glutamic acid almost always exists as glutamate. Conditions in the body favor the loss of the hydrogen atoms from the glutamic acid.

Glutamate is a key compound in metabolism. Proteins are broken down by digestion into amino acids. Those serve as metabolic fuel to burn for cellular energy and disposal of nitrogen buildup in the body, a metabolic waste product of protein metabolism. The fact that Glutamate is formed in the human body is even more amazing then the natural occurrence of Glutamic acids and Glutamate in foods. The human body has more than 50 grams of Glutamate in it at all times. Every time we eat, an average of ten to twenty grams of bound and one gram of free Glutamic Acid are ingested.

We shouldn’t confuse naturally occurring Glutamic acid and Glutamate with the additive Monosodium Glutamate either! Glutamic acid is present in every food that contains protein, but it can only be tasted in its unbound form, Glutamate. All meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products contain high amounts of glutamic acid. Significant amounts of free glutamic acid can be found in soy sauce and the intense savory notes found in these types of foods are said to have an Umami taste. One of the five basic tastes that humans possess.

Yeast Extracts also contain high amounts of naturally occurring Glutamic acid. Since this amino acid occurs naturally in the yeast to begin with, it’s considered natural. Some Yeast Extracts like Ohly’s, Provesta 512 can even be labeled as “natural flavors”. Whereas Monosodium Glutamate consists of Glutamate in its isolated pure form and must be declared as a flavor enhancer.






Selecting the Proper Phosphate for Improving Processed Meat Yields and Quality

Selecting the proper phosphate for your cooked meat or poultry product is key because meat phosphates are not all the same.   Meat technologists and production management understand that getting your phosphate completely soluble in your brine tank before the addition of salt and any other ingredient is fundamental.  And that the phosphate level in the finished cooked meat cannot exceed 0.5% by USDA/FSIS regulations.  Other requirements include checking that you don’t have hard water and making sure residual salt and phosphate are not be left in the tank before making up the next  brine.

So what do phosphates do in meat applications?  The primary thing phosphates do is allow meat muscle tissue to return to their near pre-rigor natural state. During rigor mortis, the freshly processed muscle tissue constricts and squeezes out water due to the absence of ATP(Adenosine Triphosphate) . This state of rigor results in the meat being tougher and drier when cooked. Phosphate functions by replacing ATP thereby relaxing the  muscle allowing it to open up and moisture to be replenished. Added to this function, the selected phosphate will help adjust the meat pH away from it’s denaturing (isoelectric point) and capture(chelate) the minerals in the water and in the muscles;allowing the meat to remain relaxed. Relaxed and open muscles allow for moister and better eating quality meats. That is why the addition of food phosphates is needed in most processed meat applications.

And how do phosphates differ?  A recent blind study at a 15% extension level showed that Wenda “Best-Value” phosphate blends like WendaPhos 900 dissolves  (37.5%)faster, and provide better cooked yields in both marinaded and tumbled(+3.5% ) or injected poultry(+1.5% better) than other competitive phosphate blends and much better than standard STPP !  These results were expected as WendaPhos blends are higher in purity than most of the competitors and are specifically designed and processed to not only replace ATP but to dissolve well in the presence of salt or in hard water while having application dependent pH levels for the best results.

For more information  about the WendaPhos blends for your particular product needs contact us.



NCIFT New Professionals – Double Tour Night!

NFLThanks to the National Food Lab for hosting a large group of NCIFT New Professionals!  We liked learning about the NFL’s business as a consulting and testing firm that works with food and beverage companies in the areas of food safety, quality, and product and process development.  We were thrilled to tour and see the different parts of their facility, including the Technical Center as well as the Product Design Center.

After the NFL tour, we moved down the street to Eight Bridges Brewing, where we learned about this family owned new brewery in Livermore.

Eight Bridges

We enjoyed tastings of 4 of their beers during our social hour – I liked “Hoppy Salvation IPA” but lots of people liked Golden Nektar Pilsner; and of course there are always people that love stouts!

We are always thrilled when new members attend our events, and we love to connect new professionals with each other and resources that they need to support their careers!